March 14, 2020 by kittynh
World War Two was four years long. (I’ll get back to this. Yes, it’s about coronavirus.) In Bangor, because of our geography, we have an unusual opportunity to protect ourselves from the deadly coronavirus — a method that can be similarly effective in some communities worldwide. We can be both calm and swift. There is specific action we can take. When I write “we” I include you. Hear me out:
Bangor doesn’t have point-of-care test kits (like South Korea), ventilators, etc. We desperately need time to plan-build/retrofit extra hospital beds.
Not just a majority — but a significant majority — of Bangor residents are either seniors or people with significant health issues. The “at-risk” population is Bangor people and their families. This is literally true across the America. (I will back this up with a link, Bangor more so.)
Face it: Bangor is going to shut down soon no matter what, but some places shut down too late.
Italy started shut down just a few days too late. They faced a life and death decision, just like Bangor does right now, today. In Italy, today, doctors are forced to triage: sorry, focus on this patient over here, that other one will likely die anyway. Italians don’t have enough beds, enough ventilators, enough doctors and nurses who aren’t themselves infected.
That’s happening right now in Italy.
It wasn’t happening just a few days ago in Italy.
No one is well-positioned for what’s about to happen, but Bangor can, maybe literally, be more survivable; Eastern Maine is going into shut down anyway soon — schools, retail everything, just like Italy. So consider options:
If the city shuts down using emergency powers just a few days earlier than we otherwise would, it will hurt short-term, but it could, and likely will, save lives — according to the scientists, possibly many lives – the lives of your friends, your family, your neighbors, and maybe you.
I am not in an at-risk category myself, but I’d sure like us to all pull together and leave no one behind.
That last sentence is not gosh-golly rhetoric: we must take action to in fact save lives. Here’s how:
We call on the Bangor City Council to pass an emergency measure — in the next few hours — to protect the lives of your friends, family, and neighbors. The majority of our citizens are particularly at risk because the majority of Bangor residents are either seniors or health impaired. We must be deliberate but we face a situation where swift action actually matters.
If we banded together and passed this policy — that, combined with our relative isolation from the virus — could save many lives. Think about it. Travel is going to dramatically decrease in this country as of today. Bangor could take charge of our own fate – band together in mutual support — and slow the pace of cases significantly and thus decrease the all-important burden on hospitals. This is the key to saving many lives.
Santa Clara County passed something similar yesterday. Sadly, there the disease has spread far more than here. Let’s call on the Bangor Council — today — to ban gatherings of more than fifty people, require six feet distancing between all people, and shut down all but essential businesses (pharmacies, medical, grocery) as they have in Italy and as will soon happen here anyway. We can save lives, just by showing leadership just a few days earlier.
The American Hospital Association brought in an expert on infectious diseases because hospital leaders want to know how many beds are needed. He replied that we must expect 480,000 deaths. That’s more deaths than all our soldiers who died in WWII. World War Two was four years long. With coronavirus we are talking about months. Think of the hospital beds. 480,000 is the estimate of the dead. That’s the dead, not mentioning the many soon to be in hospitals we hope will survive.
In my day job, at Together Place, we serve a health-vulnerable population, but as state senator and mayor of Bangor, I’ve knocked on nearly every door in our city. I’ve seen the health issues people face. From all this I realize that the vulnerable are the majority of Bangor residents – older people, people with health issues.
If Bangor does this right and does it now, a few days more shut down won’t matter compared to the months ahead, but we can save many of your neighbors, family and friends here in Bangor – and we can be an example for other communities who will do the same– saving even more lives, while there is still time.
Please like and share, and reach out to Bangor City Councilors. Ask them to act – today — to pass this emergency resolution, and save lives.